Structural Heart Disease


ASD/PFO Closure

What is an ASD?

ASD is also known as an atrial septal defect, which is a hole in the heart that usually closes at birth. During fetal development, this is a small opening that is normally present in the wall between the right and left upper chambers of the heart, known as the atria. When this hole does not close, it is called a patent formaen ovale, which occurs in approximately 25 percent of the population.Most people with a patent foramen ovale are unaware they have it. Generally, a PFO does not cause complications, but in rare cases, in patients with certain conditions, it can be related to unexplained strokes and migraines.In certain clinical situations patients qualify to have this defect closed. This is done by a catheter based intervention that is done by a cardiologist specialized in this procedure.


What is a PFO Closure?

A PFO is also known as a patent foramen ovale which is a hole in the heart that usually closes at birth. During fetal development, this is a small opening that is normally present in the wall between the right and left upper chambers of the heart, known as the atria. When this foramen ovale doesn’t close, it is called a patent foramen ovale, which occurs in approximately 25 percent of the population.

 

Most people with a patent foramen ovale do not event know they have it. Generally, a PFO does not cause complications, but in rare cases, in patients with certain conditions, it can be related to unexplained strokes and migraines.

 

In certain clinical situations patients qualify to have this defect closed. This is done by a catheter based intervention that is done by a cardiologist specialized in this procedure.


What is a WATCHMAN?

WATCHMAN is a permanent heart implant that reduces the risk of stroke for people with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem. 

This offers an alternative to the lifelong use of warfarin without the risk of bleeding that all other oral anticoagulants have. WATCHMAN eliminates the need for regular blood tests and food and drink restrictions that come with warfarin/Coumadin.

More about WATCHMAN and why it is important for people with atrial fibrillation:

When people have atrial fibrillation, blood can pool in an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA). When the blood pools, it can cause clots to form.  If the clot escapes from the LAA, it can travel to other areas of the body like the brain and cause a stroke. By closing off the LAA in people with afib, it helps prevent the clots from forming and traveling to the brain and causing a stroke.

 

The WATCHMAN device is the size of a quarter and fits right into the left atrial appendage. It then permanently closes it off so no clots will form there. Most people are able to stop taking warfarin after 45 days after they receive the WATCHMAN device. This procedure is done in one of our hospitals by our structural cardiologist.